Columbia College selects Sustainametrics

October 8th, 2010 by John Dinesh Mascarenhas Leave a reply »

Columbia College takes its commitment to sustainability to the next level

The development of a sustainability management plan engages the entire campus community to create, embrace and execute green practices and policies.

September 8, 2010: Columbia College Chicago has embarked on the development of a sustainability management plan that engages the entire campus community to create, embrace and execute green practices and policies. The intention of the plan will be to save money, lower environmental impact, attract students and faculty with sustainability consciousness, and increase the reputation for environmental and social responsibility of the college.

The college has hired the sustainability consulting team of Sustainametrics and TerraLocke to help engage the stakeholder community as the first phase in the development of the plan. The consultants will work closely with Columbia’s Sustainability Task Force, a working group which was established in May of 2009.  Comprised of students, faculty and staff which represent the various departments of the college, this group was created to help guide the development of the sustainability plan to act as ambassadors to their respective departments, and to pilot sustainable initiatives.

The engagement is expected to take approximately seven months and will include a systems oriented, cross functional approach with the following phases:

  • Assess the status of current sustainability initiatives;
  • Analyze initiatives using College specific metrics;
  • Recommend potential initiatives based on collaboratively defined criteria, and then
  • Deliver a Sustainability roadmap document that has the support of College stakeholders.


The entire campus community of students, staff, faculty and administrators will be encouraged to contribute to this effort through small group meetings, town hall gatherings, online forums, and surveys, and by joining green task teams. The green task teams will be broken out by key areas such as GHG emissions, energy, building, waste, water, academics, food/dining, purchasing, and transportation. They will develop and prioritize initiatives and make recommendations to the Sustainability Task Force and the Administration.

For more information on the sustainability plan development and to get involved, Columbia staff and students can contact Joe Leamanczyk, Project Manager, Office of Campus Environment, Ph: 312.369.7119, Updates on Columbia Green efforts and programs are found at

Columbia continues its green journey

Alicia Berg, Columbia’s VP of Campus Environment, highlights that, “the development of a more formal sustainability plan is a natural progression to the college’s commitment to sustainable practices and policies.”

Columbia’s President, Dr. Warrick Carter, along with over 600 college presidents, has signed the American College and University President Climate Commitment. The commitment letter states that:

We believe colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to achieve climate neutrality. Campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing global warming emissions and by integrating sustainability into their curriculum will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a thriving, ethical and civil society.

We further believe that colleges and universities that exert leadership in addressing climate change will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty, attract new sources of funding, and increase the support of alumni and local communities.

The school is also a member of AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The project and resulting plan will conform to best practices and reporting formats recommended by the Association.

Consulting team brings expertise in helping schools go green

John Mascarenhas, the consulting team project director, said “Sustainametrics and TerraLocke are excited to be working with Columbia on such a strategic engagement. This effort will have a long term positive impact on the community, as well as help to educate influential media and arts leaders who will graduate and take with them a consciousness of environmental and social responsibility in whatever careers they embrace.

The consulting team of sustainability professionals from the Chicago area and California, brings its collective experience to this project, including greenhouse gas inventory and data analysis, information technology, sustainability training and curriculum development, stakeholder engagement and collaboration systems, social networks for enterprise feedback and communications, waste/water/energy audits and retrofits, recycling and waste management, LEED and Green certifications. The local team members have deep connections with Chicago’s sustainability community, including the Chicago Climate Action Plan mitigation and adaptation activities, Chicago’s local food movement including the State of Illinois’ Local Food, Farms& Jobs Report, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, Chicago’s Green Business Alliance, the Chicago Waste-to-Profit Network, and the Chicago Retrofit Program.


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